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  • The Triangle

    June 16, 2008

    One of my many downfalls as a mother is that it is terribly hard for me to resist buying toys for Sean no good reason.


    If I were to be introspective about this weakness of mine, it’s probably because I didn’t have much growing up and I’m feeding my inner-poor child.  And although I believe there is tremendous character-building value in having less rather than more, being able to buy unexpected no-good-reason gifts for my child gives me great joy.  It delights me.  And I suppose that could be bad, but dang, it feels good.  If Sean were an ungrateful sort, it would stop.  But so far, that has not been the case.  He is extremely appreciative and that is the sweet cherry atop the cake of indulgence.


    Therefore, anytime I’m out shopping I cruise through the toy aisles looking to see what’s new and/or marked down.  It’s a sickness and I cannot stop myself.


    Last month when I was in the TJMaxx toy aisle, I noticed a Melissa & Doug’s boxed set of musical instruments.  It had 20 different pieces including a triangle!  As I stood in the toy aisle salivating over the 20 tiny instruments under the taut cellophane, I thought back to Mrs. Kelly’s kindergarten class of 1965.  On several occasions, she gave each of the children a musical instrument, which we played as we marched around the room.  I always wanted the triangle, but I never seemed to get it, no matter how high I raised my hand.  Consequently, I have spent the last 43 years dreaming of playing the triangle. Even given that compelling reason and TJ’s max to the minimum prices, Melissa and Doug wanted more for this box of musical goodness than I was willing to pay, so I put it back.


    But then last week I was in TJMaxx, trolling the toy aisle – again — and the little box of musical instruments was on sale for $20!  What could I do? It was like God was saying “I really want you to have this.”  And who am I not to do God’s will?  So I bought it.


    Later that evening, when I presented it to Sean, he squealed with delight while flapping his arms and hopping on one foot like some sort of psychotic tropical bird.  “I love it!” he said breathlessly, “I’ve wanted this since I was little!”


    He ripped away the cellophane and then I spent the next 35 minutes working feverishly to free each of the 20 pieces from twist tie shackles while he stood beside me hopping from foot to foot, panting “Hurry Mom! Hurry!” 


    He gleefully tried out each instrument as it was freed and when he got to the triangle, he marched around the room clanging it with great vigor and joy.  My heart overflowed to see him with that triangle.  At that moment, all my triangle dreams were fulfilled in him.  I told him the story of how when I was in kindergarten, I really wanted to play the triangle but never got the turn.


    He stopped and cocked his head, slightly furrowing his brow with concern. Then he handed me the triangle.


    “Here Mom,” he said. “Since you never got to have the triangle I want you to have it.”


    I just looked at him standing there offering me his triangle.


    I laughed and sighed all at once.  It was just so funny and sincere and compassionate and selfless and beyond what any four-year-old should think to do. All at the same time.  I thought about how in just four years he has managed to dissolve 48 years of hurts and disappointments. And then I sighed again.


    I closed my eyes and shook my head in an effort to send away the salty tears that were gathering behind my eyes.


    Then I took the triangle and clanged it with great vigor and joy and joined the parade around the den.




    1. julie says:

      What a sweet, tender story! Congrats on the new triangle! Cherish it!

      June 16th, 2008 at 12:25 am

    2. Swirl Girl says:

      I love this story. First of all, he’s wanted this since he was little. Secondly, so have you!

      Congratulations on the both counts.

      June 16th, 2008 at 12:31 am

    3. Big Mama says:

      I suffer from this same ailment.

      The overwhelming cuteness doesn’t help.

      June 16th, 2008 at 1:08 am

    4. LeeAnn says:

      I always wanted to play the xylophone in a high school marching band. Maybe we could start a new trend- Moms Who Blog And Play Percussion Instruments… For our first number, we can play that 90’s classic- mmmbop.

      And we’ll call ourselves mmmMWBAPPI!!!

      June 16th, 2008 at 1:23 am

    5. Debbie says:

      I have the same issue with toys. And they don’t have to be anything major, just little cars are such a thrill. It’s the delight and the huge grin and the big hug that gets me every time.
      And who thought up these crazy twist-ties anyway??? It takes all the fun out of a new toy to spend 3 hours untangling them all, inevitably slicing an artery and possibly cursing.

      June 16th, 2008 at 1:37 am

    6. Renna says:

      You have such a sweet, sweet kid, and some an amazing talent for bringing your stories to life. 🙂

      June 16th, 2008 at 1:45 am

    7. Mommy Cracked says:

      We have that same set…isn’t it fun? My son and I just bang and clang on all of the instruments as loud as we can sometimes. Great stress reliever!

      June 16th, 2008 at 1:51 am

    8. mama speak says:

      I knew what was going to happen well before you finished your story and I still got teary. Sean is such a sweet, sweet boy. I don’t think any amount of “stuff” could ruin that.

      AND you’re furthering his musical education, so it’s not really a “toy” it’s more of a teaching of the arts.

      June 16th, 2008 at 3:06 am

    9. Donna W says:

      What a great entry. So you got to be a kid again. Isn’t it wonderful how that happens sometimes when we’re in the company of children?

      Your blog entries are truly inspirational, and I look forward to them.

      June 16th, 2008 at 6:54 am

    10. Beth (A Mom's Life) says:

      What a sweet boy you are raising! Enjoy your triangle!

      June 16th, 2008 at 7:14 am

    11. Just Mom says:

      I think there ought to be some kind of support group for women like us who can’t resist buying toys for our kids. Wonderful story about a sweet little boy. By the way, will part two be about how nutty you become listening to your son play those very musical instruments all day? ;-D

      June 16th, 2008 at 7:34 am

    12. Mrs. Who says:

      I couldn’t afford to buy all the toys I wanted for my children when they were small, so now I buy everything I every wanted for them, for my grandson. And he is also sweet and appreciative like your little boy. Life is good!

      June 16th, 2008 at 8:16 am

    13. CircusKelli says:

      That boy is definitely a keeper. 🙂

      June 16th, 2008 at 8:37 am

    14. Sarah S. says:

      Oh, bless.

      June 16th, 2008 at 9:15 am

    15. Margie says:

      That was an awesome story. I loved it. And that gift was one of the greatest you could give him. Who knows what God has in store. He may be a great musician one day all because of the triangle. Margie

      June 16th, 2008 at 9:22 am

    16. Shalee says:

      I see that Sean is allowing more than just one dream come true for you. That God… he sure knew what he was doing when he gave Sean to you.

      Play that triangle for all it’s worth. May it always strike a note of contentment in you.

      June 16th, 2008 at 9:48 am

    17. Mandy says:

      What a precious child…. I have the same weakness, except with clothes, but my girls had rather it be with toys.

      June 16th, 2008 at 9:50 am

    18. bee says:

      I think we need some video of some Antique triangle playin’!

      June 16th, 2008 at 10:13 am

    19. happy Mommy says:

      So so true, our children can love away alot of hurts can’t they! Enjoy your triangle!

      June 16th, 2008 at 10:17 am

    20. Fraulein says:

      That’s awesome. Mine says that too — “When I was little.” She’s 3 and a half! And there is nothing more gratifying than a child’s excitement and gratitude for a new toy!

      June 16th, 2008 at 10:31 am

    21. Adventures In Babywearing says:

      Oh, that’s precious. I do suffer from similar toy shopping scenarios- usually involving Marhsall’s and Melissa & Doug wooden kitchen toys. 🙂


      June 16th, 2008 at 10:37 am

    22. Jamie (Ohbecareful!) says:

      Little boys have their own special way of melting your heart. It’s a little known fact, I think, until you become the mother of one. 🙂

      But here’s what I want to know — have you regretted getting him all of those musical instruments yet? My kids can make enough noise to drown out a football stadium full of loud, whooping fans; If I gave them instruments that they could clang, bang, and drum, I would surely be heaping punishment upon my own head.

      June 16th, 2008 at 10:37 am

    23. Kim says:

      I LOVED the triangle too! I think music teachers should just buy a box of triangles and be done with it.

      Precious boy!

      June 16th, 2008 at 10:41 am

    24. Tom says:

      “I’ve wanted this since I was little!” That is hilarious! I could just imagine him saying to a three-year-old playmate something like “You know, back when I was your age…”

      June 16th, 2008 at 10:47 am

    25. Quirky says:

      And I’m crying. Over a triangle. And the sweetness of a little boy. How you pull at my heartstrings with these stories.

      You know you aren’t supposed to make people cry on their birthday, even if they are heartstring tears…it’s a rule, you know.

      June 16th, 2008 at 10:51 am

    26. zoom says:

      If I had a child that cute, sweet, smart, sensitive, intuitive- I would be a toyaholic too.

      June 16th, 2008 at 10:59 am

    27. momhuebert says:

      Your stories always make me either laugh or cry. And now that I can see again, I can tell you so. Sean is quite a boy.

      June 16th, 2008 at 11:23 am

    28. apathy lounge says:

      “Since I was little”. That just made me crack up. What a thoughtful little boy!

      June 16th, 2008 at 11:33 am

    29. arlene says:

      You’ve already got “Grandma Disease”. A great disease to have by the way.

      June 16th, 2008 at 11:50 am

    30. Robbin says:

      Oh how sweet.

      And if it makes you feel better, I am the same way. I grew up poor and had very little. And it gives me great joy to indulge Harry’s hearts-delight. It’s like I can make up for all my childhood disappointment vicariously.

      But I have heard this – if you indulge a child because it give you joy, you are not spoiling a child. If you indulge a child because you are giving in to demands, or to stop whining, or to make parenting easier, THEN you are spoiling.

      At least, I HOPE that’s true!

      June 16th, 2008 at 11:54 am

    31. Roxanne says:

      That is a wonderful, wonderful story.

      June 16th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    32. Susan says:

      That is so beautiful!

      June 16th, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    33. Kara Messner says:

      Ok. That one definitely tugged on all the heart strings. This Sean of yours sounds absolutely delightful and a joy to parent. I hope you enjoyed your Triangle Time!

      June 16th, 2008 at 1:27 pm

    34. Linda says:

      “…since he was little”!!! LOL!!!
      That is so sweet! That little boy of yours is so amazingly wonderful!

      June 16th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    35. jen elslager says:

      I didn’t even try to stop the salty tears…

      Great post, AM. 🙂

      June 16th, 2008 at 1:36 pm

    36. Jennifer says:

      That is so sweet!
      My husband and I have the same toy-buying-sickness. We remember many years ago saying, “no one ever goes in Toys R Us in this town.” Um, now WE are there once a week it seems. At JCPenney recently, shopping for clothes, Rachel saw a webkinz cat – we said no – she was sad, but didn’t throw a fit. After we got in the car, my husband says, “I forgot something” and went back in. He handed her the bag and the look on her face when she peeked in and saw that cat… she was deeply grateful!

      June 16th, 2008 at 1:40 pm

    37. Marian says:

      My daughter is 3 1/2 and will be looking for just such a sweet boy in about 20 years. Can I give you her number?

      June 16th, 2008 at 3:11 pm

    38. Amy F. says:

      And this is why I keep coming back to your blog! Thanks for sharing such a sweet story.

      June 16th, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    39. Pat says:

      I really need a 4-year old boy in my life!

      June 16th, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    40. diXymiss says:

      Percussion instruments ~ 20 of them? You are a brave woman! I’ve got a headache just reading about it! Where’s that bottle of eXcedrin…

      PS: congrats on finally achieving triangle fufillment!

      June 16th, 2008 at 4:51 pm

    41. Nett says:

      I’m so happy for you to finally have the triangle. They’re so shiny!
      The symbolism struck me as well. The three of you are a triangle.

      June 16th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

    42. Jake's a Girl says:

      What is it about the triangle that makes us long for it so?

      I always picture Sean as Christopher Robin w/ you as his Pooh Bear. Nothing in this world did he love more.

      God is so smart. 🙂

      June 16th, 2008 at 6:05 pm

    43. cyn says:

      I had triangle envy too. I do believe knowing my activity level, my teachers plotted to keep it out of my hands.
      What a tender little guy you have. LOVE IT.

      June 16th, 2008 at 7:35 pm

    44. Roxanne says:

      I just read a comment from Jennifer, and I think she nailed it–the difference between spoiling children with toys and giving them things for the joy of it can be seen in the child’s reaction–her sweet girl wanted the toy, but didn’t pitch a fit when the answer was “No.” Therefore–even though the little girl doesn’t understand it yet–her sweet reaction made her DAddy want to get it for her even more.

      There are times when I know that God has given me much, much, much more than I need and certainly WAY more than I “deserve”, the only way that I can understand his love and generosity is to look at the way I feel about my kids and giving “good gifts” to them. Even if it’s a toy.

      June 16th, 2008 at 8:58 pm

    45. Ann says:

      Your little one is just reflecting back all that sweet love you are pouring into him. What an amazing blessing! Thanks for sharing.

      I thought of you today when my 6 year-old daughter said, “Mommy, do you have a coin? I want to play Heads or Toes.”

      June 16th, 2008 at 9:16 pm

    46. Irish Mom says:

      Too funny, I always craved the triangle as well. I always ended up with the rhythym sticks for some reason. I mean, couldn’t they tell I was more of a triangle person than a stick person?!?! UGh!!

      June 16th, 2008 at 9:45 pm

    47. boomama says:

      This is beautiful.

      June 16th, 2008 at 10:45 pm

    48. Mary says:

      My DD is 15 and is in the HS marching Band. She plays the big bass drum. When she tells people that she is in the percussion section and they ask what she plays, she tells them the electric triangle. It cracks her up every time!!! She too has dearly loved the triangle all of her life and gets the opportunity during stage concerts to play it. It makes her eyes twinkle and everyone tells her that she does a great job. We try to find percussion sets to give as gifts to 2 and 3 year olds and it is a bonus if there is a triangle included! So tell Sean to keep practicing. He could have a future as a triangle player!

      June 16th, 2008 at 11:58 pm

    49. Terri says:

      Awww, how sweet. Sounds like you have a really thoughtful little boy.

      Oh, and I am the same way about buying my kids toys for no reason. I get a lot of joy out of doing it, and they are always appreciative so I do every now and again.

      June 17th, 2008 at 12:28 am

    50. Rachel says:

      That was beautiful. You have so much talent.

      June 17th, 2008 at 12:45 am

    51. Jill says:

      I love this post. It made me cry a little and I don’t even have triangle issues.

      June 17th, 2008 at 7:48 am

    52. Sally says:

      Oh, I love that story!! I, too, can remember things like that from my old school days……..
      and the sincerity of Sean wanting you to have the triangle is just so precious!!!

      June 17th, 2008 at 9:37 am

    53. shayne says:


      June 17th, 2008 at 10:02 am

    54. Cheryl says:

      What a sweet, tender-hearted son you have! Once again, you have made me tear up with your wonderful ability to turn a phrase. Have fun with your triangle!

      June 17th, 2008 at 11:57 am

    55. carrie-the gremlin wrangler says:

      I love my little gremlins, I really do, but I was wondering if you could bring that sweet boy over to rub off some of his goodness to them?

      They need some of whatever he’s sellin’ today.

      And the triangle was a cool choice back in school.

      June 17th, 2008 at 12:47 pm

    56. Jackie Hall says:

      That boy deserves all you buy him for being such a predious angel and giving his mommy her dream come true. You are one bless woman!

      June 17th, 2008 at 1:03 pm

    57. Mamom says:

      Did ANYONE ever get that dang triangle? I remember wanting it so bad too, but I always seemed to get stuck with the lamo blocks that you just banged together. The other hoped for but never got item were the cymbols.

      I fulfilled a childhood want through my ds by buying him Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, a toy I craved but was denied as it was a “boy” toy according to my Dad.

      June 17th, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    58. Tipper says:

      Congrats on the triangle-and on the sweet boy!

      June 17th, 2008 at 3:47 pm

    59. CarolinaMama says:

      This is so darling. You are too sweet and he is just adorable! I don’t recall the Triangle but I wanted you to have it. 😉 However, I am a TriDelta (three triangles 😉 You’re such an awesome Mom!

      June 17th, 2008 at 3:51 pm

    60. Nicki says:

      Oh, what a sweet story. I love little boys. Sigh.

      June 17th, 2008 at 6:31 pm

    61. stacey says:

      What a wonderful story!

      June 17th, 2008 at 8:27 pm

    62. MommyWizdom says:

      That is such an awesome story. My daughter also displays similar traits. It amazes me how children can be so empathetic at such a young age…

      Thanks so much for sharing such a beautiful piece of your history and your son’s!

      June 17th, 2008 at 9:34 pm

    63. Soliloquy says:

      And THAT is the beauty of parenting! The rewards are daily!

      So much fun to read about!!

      June 18th, 2008 at 12:10 am

    64. feefifoto says:

      You have a wonderful, caring, sincere child. you’re doing a very good job raising him with values of kindness and thoughtfulness.

      And now I must say that I always have trouble commenting on your blog. I try to correct typos (see above) but the cursor will only move forward or back to the very beginning of my comment. I can’t scroll over text to highlight either. Is it just me, or is this some vast conspiracy or what?

      If you have it in you, give your little angel one extra hug tonight on my behalf.

      June 18th, 2008 at 12:28 am

    65. DawnMarch says:

      I bought that exact same toy for my son a few weeks ago (I buy way too many too) and he loves it. If it makes you feel better, I got it at Barnes & Noble, so you got a great deal (not to mention finally getting that coveted triangle!).

      June 18th, 2008 at 9:44 am

    66. Rivkeleh says:

      They have an uncanny way of healing all those wounds we’ve been carrying around, don’t they? Amazing.

      I myself have been waiting 35 years for something that happened this morning — my son and I made a sock puppet. I have a child who will play sock puppets with me. My life is complete.

      June 19th, 2008 at 12:42 pm

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